Saturday, November 28, 2015

I LOVE My Parents

With my new niece in town (and her parents), my siblings and I went out for a night with the 6 of us.  Last time we did this, Brian and Sandi announced their pregnancy over dinner at Russel’s.  This was our first Sib Dinner with all of us as parents—and so much fun!  Brian suggested we go out to the new McMenamins and since I made reservations a few days ahead, we were able to get a circular table in a quiet corner among all the McMenamin’s Madness. 

How were all these parents about to go out for an evening?  Because our kids have awesome grandparents.  My mom and dad watched ALL SIX kids and thanked us for dropping them off.  Yep, I’ll keep doping their cholesterol meds—I love their brand of crazy!

Grandma had the tree up and naked, ready for the kids to decorate it together. 

11-28 cousins at Grandmas 1


Here are the girls!

11-28 cousins at Grandmas 2


The boys (possibly the only time they stopped moving that night):

11-28 cousins at Grandmas 3


And Grandpa with the most delicious baby in the world sleeping in his arms.  She is adorable and I love her to bits.

11-28 Dad and Amber

Wesley Cuteness

Wesley helped me put up all the outdoor lights by staying out of my way—roller blades, Daddy’s chainsaw safety helmet, Santa mitten, and Zword (Power Ranger sword, for those not in the know).  What can I say, I like the kid!

11-28 Wesley cuteness

Friday, November 27, 2015

National Swearing Day 2015

I had to look at last year’s post to find out where our new favorite tree farm is.  [Again, for my own reference, it’s  JP Landscape Tree Farm
29726 NE Cherry Valley Road, Duvall, WA 98019).]

11-27 Christmas tree 1

Dwayne is becoming quite the spirit of Christmas on SWD!  Like last year, we found the perfect, too-tall tree right away, but since it wasn’t pouring (just freezing) Dwayne had us tromp around the frost-kissed farm to make sure there was nothing more perfect-er.  And he was going for towering, not just tall. 


11-27 Christmas tree 2 (1)

We got settled on this, the one I championed from the first. 

11-27 Christmas tree 4

The kids wandered the fields warmed by the hot chocolate they got to have when we arrived at the farm.

11-27 Christmas tree 8

Before Wesley warmed himself up by the fire with a s’more, he worked hard on writing his letter to Santa.  Grandma, he really, really wants Power Ranger stuff.  Ross (and probably a lot of other stores) had a Power Ranger weapon that he has to have, and Santa did not include in his bag.


Piper made sure she got Santa’s attention as well.

11-27 Christmas tree 5

Clearly, Piper waited until after her s’more to communicate to Santa.

11-27 Christmas tree 6


Our tree was too easy to be netted, but Santa’s helpers got it on the roof anyway.

11-27 Christmas tree 7


This year, I got the lights up (it took two separate ladders), and then I left for Black Friday sales while the kids took charge of the decorating.  Though “took charge” may be overstating it in Wesley’s case. 

11-27 Christmas tree 11


Aw, my fam.

11-27 Christmas tree 9


Tada, the final product.  Our house smells so good!

11-27 Christmas tree 12

Monday, November 23, 2015

Another Storm, Another Mess

Last Tuesday, a windstorm came through, cutting our power early afternoon and the school’s an hour later. 

Ironically, I had spent time and effort earlier this autumn getting quotes for felling a few trees on our privately-owned neighborhood islands.  Two were especially concerning, and we called in the county to see if they were technically on county land or not.  One was, and it was immediately yellow-taped and white-painted to be removed ASAP…almost 2 months ago. And during the storm, this giant twin tree fell right across the road, the stump’s roots sticking up in the air like my kids standing on their heads.  

Besides obstructing the road, it covered the walkway across from our street with trunks and branches several feet deep.  It also slapped off our street sign from its post and whacked away at a few other trees.

The sidewalk is the part that you can’t see under all those branches!

11-21 neighborhood tree 2

More than half of the schools in our district lost power so schools were closed on Wednesday. 

The rumors, straight from county officials who came out right away Tuesday night to clear the road, was that they wouldn’t be back for months to clear all logs left on the side of the main street and our street, let alone deal with the stump and all the branches.   So, that Saturday, our neighborhood (okay, Dwayne and a half-dozen others) brought out chainsaws, wheelbarrows, rakes and blowers to clean up our street and the sidewalk so kids could safely walk to school. 

Hours, my friend, hours.  Two guys worked all day just on getting the enormous stump out and dragged down the street to the country graveyard. 

11-21 neighborhood tree 3

11-21 neighborhood tree 4

11-21 neighborhood tree 5

11-21 neighborhood tree 7

I was feeling pretty smug about all this work we did.  No more would our friend’s kids have to walk on the road with cars coming to get to school.  We weren’t whiney people waiting for our government to come and make our world better (you can barely tell I’m a flaming liberal with that last statement).  We saw a need for ourselves and others and with a lot of time and hard work, did the job.

…And by noon that Monday, the county had come out and cleared out our log lengths, heaping branch piles, and the rest of our hard work with their super-efficient and powerful machines and trucks.  Sigh. 

Though I do comfort myself that the woman and police officer I saw in deep discussion next to the stump we had relocated *may* have had something to do with the quick clean up.  I guess we’ll count it as a win. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I’m 41 today!

11-10 Denise

The kids were far more excited than I was!  Dwayne made me my favorite breakfast, omelets, and the kids all dressed up special for my birthday.

11-10 B-day dress up Wesley11-10 Kyla birthday  dress up 11-10 Piper bday dress up


Dwayne’s parents were in town.  I had hoped they could make it for our schools Veteran’s Day assembly, and they did!  Richard, along with the other veteran honorees were thanked in person by every student in the school.  It was a pretty moving assembly!

11-11 Dick Veteran's Day 2


Kyla and Grandma made the cake earlier in the day and Wesley and Piper got to decorate it after school.  It was a special day, so we all had dessert first before Dwayne took me out to dinner and a movie for the evening, leaving the grandparents in charge on the homefront.

11-10 B-day cake 1


One reason I appreciate Darlene is that she probably take more pictures of our family than just about anyone else (except you, Sus!).

11-10 Family


We went to downtown Bothell to the new McMenamins Anderson School—extra fun for me, because before McMenamins was this extra fun hotel/ tavern /sportsbar/ brewery/ restaurant/ theater/ pool, it was home to the alternative school that I taught at for 3 years. (I was in a portable out by the skate park, both of which are gone and the space much approved on.)  It’s all the old gym, cafeteria, main office, woodshop, etcetera, but so well redone.  It’s very fun. 

11-10 Anderson School


And what was extra fun, besides being able to order a cocktail in the theater, which everyone knows makes Bond movies more coherent, was that the hotel is chock full of Bothell history, and if you wander up to the third floor, north side, you will see this picture:

11-10 SAS staff pic

It was the SAS staff holiday party from 2003 or 2004!  I’m in the front row, red blouse.  Larry Goldberg is behind me and my sister-in-law, Sandi, knew him just after this, when he left SAS to teach chemistry at SPU where she was a student.  Oh, I have fond memories of this staff. 

I really don’t do much to figure out ahead of time what I want my birthday to look like (I’ve got kids, it’s probably going to turn out to be all about them anyway), but this one turned out exceptionally well.  Thanks, family!

Monday, November 9, 2015

How Embarrassing

11-11 pumpkin


We (I) scraped out all the guts but we never got around to actually carving our pumpkins this year.  I’m not going to think about how  much we spent on the wasted squash.  This year the kids even managed to drop Wesley’s pumpkin after we paid for it but before we got it to the car, and it started rotting that very night during the unseasonably warm weather.  This one waited for a few weeks before becoming this unhealthy pale shade!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

He Had Me At “Because it’s 2015”

From multiple news services, but USA Today in particular:

New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he named a gender-equal cabinet "because it's 2015."

Trudeau picked 15 men and 15 women as part of a ministerial team that he says looks "like Canada".

In comparison, 4 of the 16 cabinet positions in the United States are held by women. Technically, US has 7 more “positions [that] have the status of Cabinet-rank” and 3 of them are held by women.  I’m hoping our next president follows Trudeau’s lead. 

My gratitude to Jim for pointing out the news north of us to me!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Come Say Hi to Me at the….

SEPAC Holiday Craft Fair!



SEPAC is the Special Education Parents group of which I am (nominally, truthfully) Vice President.  But that’s not a reason to support SEPAC—that we use our time, energy, money, and other resources to support teachers, students and their families is! 

Saturday, 9-4

12225 NE 160th St

Bothell, WA

Monday, November 2, 2015

Seriously? When Homeschooling Drives Me Mad.

Kyla is a sensitive, empathetic child.  Squared.  In a household that doesn’t really value feelings.

Today, as part of her review of multiplication facts (and let the record state that she loathes her 4s), we looked at how:

even * even = even

even * odd = even

odd * odd = odd

One can do the math and see that 75% of products are even numbers.  Kyla, seriously, choked up with tears threatening to spill, her voice quivering, “But that’s not fair!  There should be an equal number of odds and evens.”  (And there is, if one looks at all numbers, but not multiplication products.) “Why don’t odd numbers get to have the same as evens?  I feel bad for the odd numbers.”

Again, seriously?!?!

I’m going to try to toughen her up a bit by showing her there are more red apples than yellow ones, more orange carrots than yellow, and more gray hair than not…in Dwayne’s goatee. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Trick or Treat!

I have to brag about the best trick of the day.  I did put up Piper’s sign across our bedroom door and put them to bed with many, many warnings about letting Mama sleep in the morning.  And about 10am, I crawled out of bed to quiet house, and immediately told to go back to bed by Piper.  She was making me and Dwayne breakfast in bed.

It was almost 11 o’clock before we got it, but I was so impressed!  Look at the perfection of this omelet—all my favorites, with fresh tomatoes, spinach, cheese, and of course, fresh-from-the-chicken Harvey eggs!IMG_3327

The rest of the day didn’t pass quite as pleasantly, but here are my little monsters dressed to scare!

Kyla is a fairy queen.


Piper as Hermione.


And Wesley began as a Wizard Puppy and ended with this: